Friday, July 21, 2017

THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED BY KERRY KLETTER - BOOK REVIEW

I'm not convinced I know how I feel about this book just yet. But don't really feel like sitting and stewing about it so let's just dive in (no pun intended.)


Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter.

This book follows eighteen year old Cassie. She has just checked herself out of the psychiatric hospital she had been forced to go to over two years ago and is now attending her mother's alma mater. But Cassie knows her should never have been locked up in the first place. Her family tied her up and dragged her there, her mother convinced the doctors that Cassie was mentally ill. The relationship between Cassie and her mother has always been strained, but for Cassie, this was the last straw. Until she gets out. As the toxic relationship with her mother grows, Cassie begins to reflect on her childhood, pushing away new friends and try to figure out where things went so horribly wrong with the mother she was obsessed with as a child.

Going into this book, I really didn't know what to expect. I knew the synopsis a little bit, but not enough to have a specific understanding of what was going to happen.

I think the major issue that struck me about this book was the toxicity between Cassie and her mother. I have been fortunate enough to grow up with a mother worlds different from Cassie's mom and I could not imagine what she had to go through in her life. I guess it's one of those things that you don't really notice until you see it for the first time. Even in the books I read, so many of them either have mothers that are awful but usually absent or good and around. I don't know if I've read a book where the mother was such a huge part of the child's life, but equally as horrible.

I also think this book brings up another topic that I don't see a lot of in general, and that is not being believed when you are telling the truth. There is something just completely unsettling about having no one believe you and no one to turn to. I cannot even begin to imagine what that kind of environment did to Cassie. Everything she said, her mother twisted to fit a different story. Even being admitted to the hospital, no one believed Cassie because of the lies her mother had woven. So many people didn't believe Cassie - and that was a suffocating thing to read.

I don't know if I really liked this book all that much. It was raw and uncomfortable. It was hard to read and while I kept reading, there were a couple of times when I wasn't sure I could continue, the story was just so bleak.

BUT, this book is unique. I've never read a book quite like it. Cassie is a broken character and her mother is horrendous. No one believes her and she cannot seem to find her footing. Every time she makes a stride towards a positive moment or event, her mother comes in and wrecks everything. Some of the things she says and does to her daughter made me sick, I could not believe some of the things I was reading.

This book reminded me a bit of We Were Liars, not at all because of what it was about, but because of the enchanting writing and feeling the book gave off. I loved that book despite the hype, but I think the hype may have gotten the better of me with this one. I still enjoyed it, but I didn't love it as much as everyone else says they do.

Overall, a unique book that is full of emotion.